The expat top-10 aims the spotlight on the internationals that help Eindhoven progress. E52 sat down with each winning expat to talk about their experiences and perspective on the city they once came to, and never got away from. Today: Jing Li.

Name: Jing Li
Age: 36
Profession: Teamleader at ASML
Living in Eindhoven since: 2004


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Jing Li received her PhD in 2010 at the faculty of mathematics and informatica at the Technical University of Eindhoven, but Jing Li is nothing of the stiff stereotype sometimes associated with those disciplines. During her studies she showed many new Chinese students around in Eindhoven, as a chairwomen of the Association for Chinese Students and Scholars in Eindhoven (ACSSE). In 2004 she reached the semi-finals of the TV-program Everybody Dance Now, along with her dancing group Chinese dance group Eindhoven. Li works for ASML as a team leader and she is still connected with the TU/e were she’s is doing research for big data.

‘After Leiden came Eindhoven’
“After my bachelor Mathematics in Nanjing China, I went to Leiden to study there in 2002. The first two years everything was new and very exciting to me, I was quite to myself and suffered a lot from homesickness. After I finished in Leiden I went to Eindhoven. I chose a post-master, because I didn’t know for sure I wanted to do a PhD. But afterwards I did, and now I’m working for ASML.”

‘The connection between work, to contribute to society, people and happiness are the things that are keeping me here’
“It’s really nice that the city can combine hardcore technological stuff with more cultural activities. To me that’s really important, I am more technical with my mathematics background, but in my free time I like to watch art and I love to dance. That combination for me is important to be happy. Eindhoven is a real open community, the city is really trying to do their best to make the inhabitants and expats happy. The multi helix collaborations in the city are a nice example. Not only the government and the companies are responsible for the city, but the inhabitants as well. If you look at Strijp-S, there’s a real entrepreneurial atmosphere, a lot of events and modern art. I can’t put it exactly in words, but there is something happening over there. I like that.”

“I wanted to meet more people. And because I already knew what new students were going through, I really wanted to help them out. I went to a lot of events to provide practical information about living in Eindhoven. Then I was asked to join the board of the Association of Chinese Students and Scholars in Eindhoven (ACSSE). I enjoy helping people and was very active at the ACSSE. Here I built a big network of internationals but also I met a lot of my Dutch friends.”

“Another project were I put a lot of time and effort in is my dancing group. In 2014 we made it till the semi-finals at the TV-show Everybody dance now. That’s something that makes me feel very proud. And the dancing also helps a lot with meeting new people and to contribute something to society. We originally started the team when we were all students, but we’re still dancing. Because it helped us to feel happy in Eindhoven, and that message we want to keep on carrying out.”

‘I like to help people’
“I think it’s important to contribute to different events, like I always did at the TU/e. It is important that you show new people where they need to go when they don’t know how things work in a new environment. Because of my busy job at ASML I don’t have a lot of time anymore to help students. But here at ASML I make sure everyone is working for the same goal, it’s a challenge to keep everyone sharp. I’m really thankful that I get the opportunity that I can work at such a great company.”

The adaptability of the Dutch is remarkable
“I’ve put a lot of effort to adapt myself and to try to get a nice life here. Another typical thing is the transparency and openness of the Dutch. When you invite someone for dinner in China it is very common that you pay the bill, because you invited the person. If everyone pays for themselves, we’re saying: going Dutch. It’s a stereotypical joke about Dutch people being stingy.”

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About the author

Author profile picture Milan Lenters is a writer and editor. Through IO, he got to know his native city Eindhoven in a different way and sometimes looks with amazement at the many stories that lie ahead.